The new investing rules

The market slump is “shredding millions of college funds and retirement accounts,” says Brett Arends in The Wall Street Journal, but it has also trashed the investing rules many of us have counted on for decades. For example, it’s no longer true that the stock market safely outperforms over a decade—the S&P 500 has returned less than a basic savings account since 1998. Nor is it true that international equities provide much diversification, that housing markets never go down, that markets are rational, or that you shouldn’t “time” the market. What will the “new” rules look like? Probably “a lot like the ‘old’ rules that were around before the big bull market got going in the 1980s.”

The housing crisis is ending (seriously)

It may be hard to believe, says John M. Berry in Bloomberg, but the “recent flow of housing data” suggests that the worst of the housing crisis is behind us. Existing-home sales have stabilized, in a sign that home prices have fallen enough to lure buyers back in the market, and sales of new homes “have also moved sideways in the last couple of months.” Housing starts seem to be leveling out, which is good news for GDP. And home prices are rising in some metropolitan areas. That doesn’t mean a rebound is imminent. But “if you’re in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging,” and “in the case of housing, we’re ready to throw down the shovel.”